Good and bad AT prize ships - where do tiamat and hydra belong?
AT ship - what makes it good? There should be some demand for it. Some demand is generated by collectors and people who are interested in something related to the ship, e.g. lore. But most of demand is dictated by the ship’s stats (because people with money to acquire these ships usually play excel online more than they play barbie online). This is further divided into two groups: ship should be good for AT meta or for TQ meta.
For TQ, you need raw power AND risk aversion. Nobody is going to fly ship which is outclassed by t2, and nobody is going to fly 100b+ ship which is easy to lose. For TQ, this translates to flashy appearance with few quick kills. Moracha and imp are two the most notable examples of ships which are good: both are pretty safe to navigate between systems (cloak or 2s align + nullification), are in relatively safe position when fighting on grid (LR web or insane AB speed), and posess decent projected damage.
For AT, with the latest rule revision, it’s raw ship power, unique abilities not present on other ships or ability to work around “1 ship type max” rule. For example: the rabisu and the etana for more power, the victor for unique abilities, the chameleon to work around the 1 ship rule.
Now, to AT16 prize ships, the tiamat and the hydra. First of all, spoolup speed bonus instead of max spoolup bonus is a step into right direction, but it’s not nearly enough. For TQ, they are mostly plagued by their primary weapon system - disintegrators - which is forcing them into brawling range. Also there were some rumors that CCP had to make them weak due to AT balance, which is partially a bad approach.
Hydra: it’s significanly better than the damavik but still quite bad (compared to other AT prize frigs or even some t2 frigs). This is a frigate, AT balance reason for making it weak is plain wrong. With 1 unique OR flagship rule using it makes no sense, you will never take low-impact frigate over almost any unique cruiser. The only frigate which has (almost negligible) chance to appear is malice, even cambion fell off. So, hydra must be balanced for TQ meta, and I see two ways to do it. First - keep it brawling-oriented but pump much more power into it. Insane resistances, good cap regen, high DPS output with relatively short spoolup (below 30-40 seconds). Second way is making it more risk-averse, which is ought to include some insane optimal range bonuses (+200%-ish on top of its present +37.5% bonus).
Tiamat: as it’s a cruiser, AT balance reasons are legit. However, in its current form it’s rather bad for AT and insanely bad for TQ. For AT, it’s basically vedmak with additional med slot, high slot and a bit more stats, which costs you 11 points (it’s recon, not t1 cruiser) and you block yourself from using other uniques which are significantly more useful. For TQ, it’s a ship with very limited range and ability to control engagement with bad stats. Like with the hydra, making it more risk-averse by adding +100% optimal range bonus would help alot. More cap regen would help too, mostly for shield fit which presently has to spend one of its precious mids to fit cap injector.
If the main job of these ships is to deal damage - then to be used on TQ they beg for extra range. AT meta is more brawly, because environment is strict 10x10 with no possible escalations, so range bonuses are valued much less.
Also cloak should not mean that ship should have bad base stats. Presently they are pretty close to pirate ships rather than pimped t2, unlike other (good) AT prize ships. They could be turned into AF and HAC with cloaks, with corresponding increase in base stats - they have no real ewar bonuses after all (despite tiamat belonging to recon class).
As for flavor bonuses which still might be useful for TQ, it could be insanely low starting damage which quickly ramps up to max. For example,it would be cool if Tiamat would start with 0 dps but after 20 seconds of shooting it would have 700-ish dps (assuming 1 damage mod and mystic).
All things considered the current state of the ships is pretty disappointing while there are plenty of opportunities.
They would make so much more sense as HAC/AF class.
Hopefully CCP might consider the ideas and change them a bit.
We feel it would make the ships actually being used instead of gathering dust in someone’s hangar.